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The contribution of Australian and New Zealand obstetricians and gynaecologists to modern clinical practice

Jennifer N Lees and Colin A Walsh
Med J Aust 2011; 195 (10): 577. || doi: 10.5694/mja11.10184
Published online: 21 November 2011

Sir Graham Liggins, who died last year aged 84, made arguably the greatest contribution of any Australian or New Zealand practitioner to modern obstetric practice. Educated at the University of Otago, his work in the 1960s on causes of prematurity led to the publication of a landmark randomised controlled trial. This 1972 report demonstrated a two-thirds reduction in the incidence of respiratory distress syndrome in preterm neonates who had received antenatal corticosteroids. Although not immediately universally accepted, subsequent work substantiated the benefit of this simple, ground-breaking treatment. The administration of antenatal glucocorticoids, now standard obstetric practice, is widely acknowledged as the single most effective therapy in minimising mortality from prematurity.

  • Jennifer N Lees1
  • Colin A Walsh2

  • 1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Royal Hospital for Women, Sydney, NSW.
  • 2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, St George Hospital, Sydney, NSW.

Correspondence: 

Acknowledgements: 

Colin Walsh is partially funded by a University of New South Wales International Research Scholarship.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

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